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Safety Nugget Week of January 9 - Safety on Phishing Emails, Phone Calls, Pop-Up Messages< Back to Blog

Jan 12, 2017
By: C. Wang
Categories: Safety

SAFETY ON PHISHING EMAILS, PHONE CALLS, POP-UP MESSAGES

 

When internet fraudsters impersonate a business to trick you into giving out your personal information, it’s called phishing. Every year, thousands of people lose money to telephone scams, phishing emails and texts — from a few dollars to their life savings.

Examples of Phishing Messages

"We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity."

"During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn't verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information."

“Our records indicate that your account was overcharged. You must call us within 7 days to receive your refund.”

The senders are phishing for your information so they can use it to commit fraud.

How to Deal with Phishing Scams

  • Delete email and text messages that ask you to confirm or provide personal information (credit card and bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords, etc.).
  • Don’t reply, and don’t click on links or call phone numbers provided in the message, either. These messages direct you to spoof sites – sites that look real but whose purpose is to steal your information so a scammer can run up bills or commit crimes in your name.
  • If you’re concerned about your account or need to reach an organization you do business with, call the number on your financial statements or on the back of your credit card.

Action Steps

  • Use trusted security software and set it to update automatically. In addition, use these computer security practices.
  • Don't email personal or financial information. Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information.
  • Only provide personal or financial information through an organization's website if you typed in the web address yourself and you see signals that the site is secure, like a URL that begins https (the "s" stands for secure). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phishers have forged security icons.
  • Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading files from emails, regardless of who sent them. These files can contain viruses or other malware that can weaken your computer's security.

 

What to Do About Pre-Recorded Calls

If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it's a robocall. Recorded messages that are trying to sell you something are generally illegal unless you have given the company written permission to call you. If you get a robocall:

  • Hang up the phone. Don't press 1 to speak to a live operator or any other key to take your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.
  • Consider asking your phone company whether they charge for blocking phone numbers. Remember that telemarketers change Caller ID information easily and often, so it might not be worth paying a fee to block a number that will change.
  • Report your experience to the FTC online or by calling 1-888-382-1222.
  • If you get phone service through internet or cable, you might want to look into services that screen and block robocalls. Try doing an online search for “block robocalls.”

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